If the only time you eat avocados is when you go out for Mexican, you are seriously missing out. Avocados have been called one of nature’s most delicious superfoods, and for good reason: they contain a fantastic amount of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for our optimum health.
They also offer the good kind of fat our bodies need – monounsaturated fat — which we can easily burn for energy. Monounsaturated fats are also fantastic glycemic controllers, so if you’re diabetic, you will definitely want to start eating more of these green gems.
But there are far more benefits the simple, sometimes-unappreciated avocado offers our health.
1. They Boast a Large Number of Essential Vitamins and Minerals
We already talked about containing the good fats, but there are plenty more essential nutrients avocados offer in just a 100 gram serving:
- Pantothenic acid: 42%
- Fiber: 40%
- Vitamin K: 35%
- Copper: 31%
- Folate: 30%
- Potassium: 21%
- Vitamin C: 20%
All of these nutrients help lessen your chance of developing illnesses and disease. So go whip up a batch of guacamole and come on back and keep reading.
2. Tons of Potassium
If you read our blog post about 3 of the most powerful nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, then you would have read about the critical role potassium plays in keeping our hearts and minds and other organs functioning properly as we age. Well, avocados actually contain more potassium than bananas. While bananas provide 12% of your RDA of potassium, avocados provide 21%!
And, equally important is that avocados contain very low amounts of sugar as opposed to bananas which are very high in sugar.
3. A Great Source of Protein
It’s important to include good sources of protein into your diet, but when you’re a vegetarian or vegan, your choices are more limited. One cup of avocado offers 3 grams of delicious protein.
4. Avocados Reduce Your Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
A study published in the Nutrition Journal (2013) reports that eating avocados reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome while improving overall nutrient intake.
5. They Balance Cholesterol Levels
Pantothenic acid plays a critical role in maintaining healthy cholesterol parameters and it just so happens avocados contain this important acid.
6. Lower the Risk of Developing Coronary Heart Disease
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25% of people in this country die from heart disease every year. As we mentioned, avocados lower your risk of developing high cholesterol, which is a leading cause of coronary heart disease.
7. They Increase Antioxidant Absorption
A 2005 study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that adding avocados to your salad would increase your carotenoid absorption. In this way, avocados are like vitamin D, which is essential for your bones to absorb calcium. You can take all of the calcium supplements you want, but if you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, that calcium will not be absorbed.
Eating more vegetables is a great way to get more antioxidants into your body, but unless your body can absorb them, what could can they possibly do? By including avocado to your salads you’ll help antioxidants help you.
8. They’re Great for Your Eyes
It turns out that avocados offer excellent protection for your eyes. Numerous studies have concluded that lutein is a very important nutrient to maintain healthy eyes as it prevents age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Well, take another bite of guacamole because just 1 ounce of avocados contain 81 mcg of lutein.
9. Avocados Can Help You Lose Weight
A study published in Nutrition Journal in 2013 looked at the hunger patterns of adults for a span of five hours after eating an avocado. 23% of participants felt completely full during that time frame while 28% had little need to eat. Obviously the fuller you feel the less you will eat in-between meals and the more weight you will lose.
10. Avocados Boost Your Immune System
Avocados are loaded with vitamin C, containing 20% of your RDA per 100 grams. As you know, vitamin C helps keep your immune system functioning properly.
11. May Help Fight Colon and Rectum Cancer
Avocados contain a high amount of folate, which has been found to prevent colon and rectal cancer. In fact, a 2007 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association states, “A large number of epidemiological studies have shown that a higher intake of folate, as well as higher intakes of vegetables and fruit, is associated with a decreased risk of colorectal polyps and cancer.”
12. They Also Keep You Regular
100 grams of avocado contain 40% of your RDA of fiber. Needless to say, eating more avocado will keep things moving and keep you regular, something that is also important to colon and rectal health.
13. They Prevent Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Perhaps one of the most exciting benefits of avocados is their ability to prevent OA and RA. They do this by preventing pro-inflammatory prostaglandin E2 synthesis within the body’s connective tissues. In fact, French studies have found that avocado oil can relive OA pain, relieving a patient’s need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as stimulate cartilage repair.
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Now that you know the health benefits of avocados, I hope you will start eating more of them. When you do, leave a comment and let me know how your health has improved.